For the first time in two years, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship has docked in a southeast Asian port outside of Singapore and Hong Kong. Port Klang, the gateway to Malaysia’s capital of Kuala Lumpur, had the honor on Friday.
The call by Spectrum of the Seas is a prelude to a further expansion of cruises in the region. Genting Dream, the ship chartered by Resorts World Cruises, called in Bintan and Batam in Indonesia.
Both ships sail from Singapore, which has been the center of the cruise industry in Asia as the only consistently open cruise homeport.
Spectrum of the Seas arrives in Malaysia.
A cruise ship arrived in Port Klang, Malaysia, for the first time in more than two years. Spectrum of the Seas arrived at the gateway to Kuala Lumpur early on Friday, July 1.
The call marks a significant milestone for the cruise industry, which has resumed operations to near normal levels worldwide, except in Asia. The region is only slowly opening up again, although major players such as Thailand and China, traditionally popular cruise destinations, remain closed.
Angie Stephen, VP and MD, Asia-Pacific, Royal Caribbean International: “The return of cruising to destinations is timely, as countries around the region re-open to welcome visitors, revitalise their tourism sectors and embrace the new normal… We look forward to developing more exciting itineraries for our guests in this region.”
According to the Singapore Tourism Board, the resumption of international cruises is essential for Singapore and the entire region. Since December 2020, Singapore has hosted several cruise ships, although these only offered so-called Seacations, where the ships remained at sea during 2- to 4-night cruises.
The 168,670 gross tons Spectrum of the Seas is sailing a series of three-night and four-night cruises from Singapore, calling in Port Klang on the three-night cruises, with the addition of Penang on the four-night cruises. Only from October 21 will Royal Caribbean add a third port, Phuket, in Thailand.
Genting Dream Makes First Call To Indonesia
After Spectrum of the Seas had the honor of the first call to Malaysia, the 151,300 gross ton Genting Dream had the privilege of being the first ship in two years to make a call in Indonesia.
The ship is under charter from Genting Hong Kong to Resorts World Cruises, the company operated by former Genting Hong Kong CEO Lim Kok Thay, who is still the Chairman of Genting Group.
“We are committed to Singapore’s vision to be a premier cruise hub in Asia. Together with STB, we look forward to growing the cruise sector, including the fly-cruise segment; and to making Singapore and Southeast Asia one of the largest year-round cruise destinations in the world,” said Mr Michael Goh, President of Resorts World Cruises.
The ship made two calls to Indonesia, both relatively close to Singapore. Bintan is a small island of Indonesia located 48 km southeast of Singapore and east of Sumatra; Batam is its neighbor.
Singapore At The Center Of The Asian Cruise Restart
The growth in Asia was one of the most critical factors for the positivity prevalent in the cruise industry before the Pandemic. However, since then, that attitude has changed significantly. The region remains mostly closed, except for the country now showing itself as the leader, Singapore.
The Singapore Tourism Board chief executive Keith Tan: “Cruising is a key tourism driver, and as Asean’s lead coordinator for cruise development, Singapore will continue to work with our counterparts to strengthen the region’s attractiveness as a cruising destination and source market.”
Before the pandemic, more than 1.8 million passengers sailed from or called in Singapore in 2019. This includes 400 cruise ships across 30 cruise brands.
Singapore now aims to steadily increase cruises sailing from the city-state, with Spectrum of the Seas and Genting Dream playing an important role. Later this year, ships from Oceania Cruises, Silversea, and Cunard will be sailing from Singapore.